Mexico is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world with almost all types of terrestrial vegetation known, and all marine and aquatic ecosystems well represented throughout its territory. From the deepest points in the ocean to the highest mountains, Mexico protects a significant portion of ecosystems and species through natural protected areas (NPAs).



  • 1968

    Mexican Society of Natural History is founded.

  • 1917

    The first NPA in Mexico, Desierto de los Leones National Park, is established.

  • 1923

    The Biology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico is formed.

  • 1940

    Mexico joins the Convention for the Protection of Nature and Preservation of Wildlife.

  • 1982

    The Urban Development and Ecology Secretariat was formed through the National System of Natural Protected Areas (SINANP).

  • 1988

    The General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection was passed.

  • 1992

    The National Commission for the knowledge and use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), the National Institution of Ecology (then INE; INECC today), and the Attorney General for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) are formed.

  • 1994

    The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) and the North America Commission for Environmental Cooperation are established.

  • 1997

    The Declaration of Tulum determines the need for an action plan within the National Committee for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mexican Reefs.

  • 2000

    A change in the Federal Law for Public Administration gives way to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) is born.

  • 2008

    The Voluntary Conservation Areas (ADVC) category is included in the LGEEPA, allowing certified private properties to be recognized as federal NPAs.

  • 2010

    The Parts of the Convention on Biological Diversity adopt a Strategic Plan for the Biological Diversity 2011-2020, which include the Aichi Goals.

  • 2012

    The national strategy for the conservation and sustainable development of the Mexican territory is published. 2014 – CONANP publishes the 2040 Strategy.

  • 2014

    CONANP publishes the 2040 Strategy

  • 2016

    The National Strategy for Mexico’s Biodiversity is published. The largest NPA in Mexico is established: BR Deep Mexican Pacific (43,614,120.19 ha).

  • 2017

    With a change in category to National Park, Revillagigedo becomes the largest marine reserve (100% protection) in North America.


Management categories

for NPAs

National Parks

SURFACE (hectares)


How much of Mexico’s territory is
under some type of protection?


SURFACE (hectares)



• CONANP. (2020). Programa Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas 2020-2024. Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. Programa Institucional

• Castañeda Rincón, J. (2006). Las áreas naturales protegidas de México; de su origen precoz a su consolidación tardía. Scripta Nova. Revista electrónica de geografía y ciencias sociales. Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona. vol. X, núm. 218 (13).

• Melo Gallegos, C. (2002). Áreas Naturales Protegidas de México en el siglo XX. Instituto de Geografía. UNAM. México.156 pp.

• Ezcurra, E., O. Aburto-Oropeza, M.A. Carvajal, R. Cudney-Bueno, y J. Torre. (2009). Gulf of California, Mexico. En: K. McLeod and H. Leslie (eds.) Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans. Island Press, New York. pp. 227–252.